Get Lit – Words Ignite 9th Annual Classic Slam 2020,
a three-day competition where top youth poets
from more than 30 schools in
Los Angeles, Boston, Orange County, and Central Valley
compete, performing both Classic and Response poems
This year’s competition will be held LIVE Online via ClassicSlam.org
Hosted by Tim “Toaster” Henderson, with Judges Paul Tran, Camonghne Felix, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Brendan Constantine, Alyesha Wise, Gordon Ip (Accuracy Judge), and Demeter Appel-Riehle (Los Angeles Youth Poet)
** FINALS | Friday, May 8, 7pm - 10pm PST **
Los Angeles, CA. (April 14, 2020) Get Lit - Words Ignite, one of the nation’s leading non-profit arts and literacy organizations for spoken word poetry and film will host this year's Classic Slam 2020 (originally to be performed live at The Theater at Ace Hotel) online due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Get Lit – Words Ignite fuses Classic and Spoken Word poetry to increase teen literacy on the page and in visual media. Get Lit’s poetry and film curriculum engages young people by providing a creative outlet, community, and real-life work experience; transforming students into artists, activists, scholars, and stars. This year’s Classic Slam 2020 will be hosted by Tim “Toaster” Henderson (featured on NPR and Button Poetry) and will include poets Paul Tran, Camonghne Felix, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Brendan Constantine, and Alyesha Wise as judges, with Gordon Ip as accuracy judge, and Demeter Appel-Riehle (LA Youth Poet) as scorekeeper. The event is sponsored by the California Department of Mental Health.
On Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24 students will compete in Quarter & Semi-Final rounds in order to earn a spot in the Classic Slam 2020 Finals on Friday, May 8. Get Lit will award over $12,000 in prizes to both poets and audience members. In response to the pandemic, Get Lit is committed to raising the voices of student artists and is allowing students to compete through online video or live via Zoom.
The Classic Slam 2020 will be streaming across YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and through www.ClassicSlam.org. Each team will be assigned a virtual Zoom “theater” where students will compete against each other. Online audiences will be able to log in and watch their favorite team compete for the championship title. Each theater will have a Host, Judges, competing poets, and an unlimited virtual audience. Student poets will be bringing slam poetry to their own homes from their own homes! Some of the Los Angeles High Schools participating include Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES), Hamilton, Larchmont Charter, CBA Watts, Animo Inglewood, Venice, Cleveland, Harvard Westlake, San Gabriel High School, Roxbury Prep HS in Boston, MA and more.
Get Lit has also partnered with LAUSD to provide Common-Core aligned, week-long and one-day free curriculum, so schools across the country can bring the power of poetry straight to their students. Teachers can find each set of interactive lesson plans at ClassicSlam.org.
Get Lit was founded in 2006 after Diane Luby Lane created a one-woman show about the power of books and toured colleges, high schools, jails, and detention centers with iconic Chicano poet Jimmy Santiago Baca. After the show closed, Lane started teaching classic and spoken word poetry in three high schools: Fairfax, Fremont, and Walt Whitman Continuation. When the semester ended... the students wouldn’t leave. They insisted on meeting after school. The rest is history. Today, the curriculum has expanded to over 100 schools throughout California, and is sold to schools all over the world. Get Lit’s poetic ambassadors, the Get Lit Players, are the most-watched poets on the internet with over 350 million online views.
Get Lit invites students to recite classic poems, and then perform their own spoken word responses. This creates a dialogue between the classic poet and the student. However, at Get Lit “a classic is not a classic because it’s old, it’s a classic because it’s great.” Participants in The Classic Slam are just as likely to perform the work of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman as they are to hear poems by Rudy Francisco and Tupac Shakur. This year, more than 30 high schools have teams. The event will bring together more than 300 students, many of whom will be participating in the competition for the first time.
Like any exciting slam, the performers feed off the energy of the audience. Now for the first time ever, audience members can participate as the virtual “6th Judge.” Get Lit has created Scoremetrics, an app that allows the participant to follow along and vote and comment on their favorite performers. It will be available at classicslam.org on the night of the Classic Slam Finals, Friday May 8. The highest-scoring poet (as determined by Scoremetrics) will be awarded the “People's Choice Winner” and a $500 cash award!
Videos from the 2015, 2016, 2017, & 2018 Get Lit Classic Slams, featuring youth poets from Southern California HERE:
Via ZOOM, May 9th
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Media Guide HERE
For more information contact:
Evolutionary Media Group